RUSADA appeals for WADA to be granted Moscow lab access

Moscow (AFP) –


Russia's anti-doping agency (RUSADA) called on Wednesday for World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) inspectors to be permitted access to the Moscow testing laboratory, one of the conditions required for the body to regain "compliant" status.

"We have for a long time restricted access to samples in the Moscow laboratory, which belongs to the International Olympic Committee and the international federations," said RUSADA director-general Yuri Ganus, quoted by TASS news agency.

"In doing that, we are violating the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency, whose right is to conduct additional inspections," he said at a forum in Saint Petersburg.

"I don't understand why we can't guarantee them access to the samples. Especially since, as you know, this is a matter of trust," Ganus continued, adding that he has told Russian authorities allowing access was of "the utmost importance".

RUSADA has been at the centre of a standoff between WADA and Russia ever since the body's suspension in November 2015 following revelations of a vast doping scandal involving Moscow's main drug-testing laboratory.

WADA has set out a roadmap detailing the path RUSADA must take to regain compliant status and rejoin the ranks of recognised testing authorities.

The agency has already been allowed to resume doping controls under the supervision of WADA-appointed monitors and the UK Anti-Doping Agency.

However, in the eyes of WADA, RUSADA has still failed to meet two key conditions necessary for it regain its full compliant status, namely granting access to the Moscow laboratory and samples that may have been stored there, as well as fully accepting the findings of the bombshell McLaren report.

Russia's non-compliance has already led to deadlock in athletics.

Russian track and field athletes were barred from the 2016 Olympics and 2017 World Championships in London, with the exception of a handful of exempted Russian athletes competing under a neutral banner.

The country was also formally banned from taking part in this year's Winter Olympics, but 168 athletes deemed "clean" were allowed to compete as neutrals.

The WADA impasse takes on added significance with the football World Cup due to kick off in Russia in just under a month's time.